Cppp.ie went live in 2007 and is the online home for the Irish Association for Chartered Physiotherapists in Private Practice.
The site serves as an information source to the public & a member portal for almost 400 members.
Up until 2007 the management of members and all communications to members was handled by the organisations administrator.
This was manual work and involved maintaining multiple mailing lists and member spreadsheets. We helped the organisation move member
details securely onto the web to help in the administration & automation of member based tasks.
We set up a face to face meeting with the chairperson of the organisation very shortly after initial contact was made. Where possible we always like to meet with prospective new clients in the flesh on projects of this scale.
The definition of requirements is an important aspect of any project and by meeting face to face we can interact with the client and clarify requirements to a detailed level. Early on we discussed the following high level requirements:-
- domain name registration & site hosting
- website design
- area of website open to public to provide general information
- physio search engine for members of the public
- secure private area for members to log in and access private content
- content / media management capabilities
- member management capabilities
- article management capabilities
As we fleshed out the high level requirements, we recognised early on that a bespoke solution was required to fully satisfy the low level requirements and make the solution as flexible as possible. It became clear that one of the most important aspects of the project was the back-end functionality to replace the member spreadsheets and manual processing in the administration of the organistaion.
Early on clients like to see sample website designs for their end product and CPPP were no different. After the requirements discussion we spent the next week working on 3 separate website layout designs for the organisation to preview. These were mailed to the organisation and the committee picked their favourite. This design then underwent a number of revisions until the final design was agreed on. This aspect of the project is important as the design is crucial to the end user experience once the site goes live and it’s important to agree this early on.
Members were always at the centre of this project, and member details were always going to be at the centre of the solution. Pre 2007, member details were duplicated in multiple spreadsheets & mailing lists meaning the up to date maintenance of these lists was difficult and manual for the association administrator.
Our first task was to take the different data sources and consolidate them into a rational single database. MySQL was the chosen database for the solution. The definition of the members in the database was crucial in this case as the members are the cornerstone to the solution.
The key requirement as outlined by the committee and the initial focus of the project was the setting up of a search engine for physiotherapists from the member data that the public could access. That’s why the definition of the member database was so important; because we had captured the data effectively, the creation of the search engine was quite straight forward.
Because this was such a key requirement, the committee requested that the project be split into phased deliverables and the search engine went live first and within a week of receiving the distributed data (spreadsheets).
With phase 1 now live, we turned out attention to the back-end. Roughly 90% of the solution functionality would reside in the back-end so it was important to give it due care and attention. The back-end is comprised of a number of different modules:-
The selected website administrator has access to the back-end through a secure username / password protected portal.
The organistaion needed to keep information in the public section fresh & current and needed to be in control of this function themselves. With this requirement in mind, we built a bespoke content management section into the back-end that made use of the tinymce HTML editor.
One of the most important functions of the member section is for members to have the ability to download documentation (Word Documents, PDFs, presentations etc.). The back-end features a file upload manager that allows the administrator upload files to the website and manage these files thereafter and attach to articles if necessary.
The upload manager caters for Excel Spreadsheets, Word Documents, Powerpoint Presentations,
PDFs, images & zip files amongst others.
The biggest challenge we had in this project in how best to improve and automate the member management process for the organisation. Firstly we put the onus on the member to keep their own information up to date – this we allowed through the newly defined members section where they log in with a unique username / password combination. This information was shown in the results of the search engine for public, so it was in the members best interests to keep this information up to date.
We built the tools for the site admin to add, edit and delete members easily. Passwords are automatically generated and mailed to members. Each member has a number of different attributes that define the role / privileges the member has that the site admin can update easily.
A member booklet is produced by the organisation each year. Pre 2007, the information for this booklet was gathered with great manual effort by the organisation administrator. These days, this booklet report is created with the single click of a button allowing the administrator do more rewarding work.
The organisation needed the ability to post member articles with attachments on the site. Again using the tinymce HTML editor, we developed an intuitive flow for the site admin to manage member articles on the site. Articles are subdivided into different categories in the back-end that determine where the appear in the member section. Up to 10 attachments (word docs, spreadsheets, presentations etc.) can be included in any article.
The final solution went live to coincide with the 2007 CPPP member conference. Post go-live a number of minor modifications were made based on member feedback. Since go-live the solution has stood up to everything asked of it, has had virtually 100% availability and continues to
serve the needs of the organisation, almost 400 of its members and thousands of visitors each month.
The solution design has made it easier to maintain and upgrade going forward. Indeed numerous enhancements have been made over the years and there are plans for future developments. In 2009 the CPPP commissioned another site findaphysio.ie that leverages off the member details on cppp.ie to provide a standalone search engine for physiotherapists in Ireland. Today findaphysio.ie is Ireland’s premier search engine for physiotherapists.